Sunday, November 25, 2012

Military Week and a Ground-Breaking Trio

Veterans Day brought Military Week (Week Eight) to Dancing with the Stars.

The Week Eight cast/ABC/Adam Taylor
There was military-themed dancing and costuming, as you can see.

Kirstie Alley danced her "best dance yet," according to the judges. (I was still partial to her "Moves Like Jagger" dance.)

Maksim Chmerkovsky and Kirstie Alley/ABC/Adam Taylor
This week, they had both individual and trio dances. The individual dances, by and large, were pretty ho-hum.

Although I liked this dance by Apolo and Karina.

Apolo and Karina/ABC/Adam Taylor
The real fun, and ground-breaking dance work, was in the trio dances.

For example, we had this:

Gilles and Peta and Chelsie doing a samba.

Chelsie and Gilles and Peta do a samba./ABC/Adam Taylor
And this (also a samba).

Cheryl Burke and Emmit Smith and Kym Johnson/ABC/Adam Taylor
Combining both dances, I arrive at this score.

3. Kelly and Val
I have seriously liked Kelly and Val all season long. However, on this night, their individual dance didn't blow me away. However, their trio was a knockout.

Val and Kelly's individual dance.
Melissa could take lessons from Kelly on how to be a dominatrix.

Louis Van Amstel and Val Chmerkovsky and Kelly Monaco/ABC/Adam Taylor
2. Melissa and Tony
Their quickstep to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" was pretty phenomenal. Their trio, where Melissa got to play a dominatrix (still not convincing to me) was fun (with Melissa, Tony and Henry).

Melissa and Tony do their individual dance.
Tony and Melissa and Henry/ABC/Adam Taylor
But really and truly, all other competitors can just sit down. There is a rocketship among these dancers, one pair who really stands out above all others. And when you add DWTS' other most brilliant star back into the mix, world-class dance is created.

I present to you, my favorite from this and most weeks, my favorite to win this competition (by a mile).

1. Shawn and Derek
The thing that really separates the wannabes from the stars on this show, IMHO, are the dancers who not only march through their steps, but also manage to give you a story along the way. (Admittedly, this is as much due to the genius of their given choreographer as anything... and Derek is tops this season with this.)

Shawn and Derek's Viennese waltz brought back the military theme. Derek is a soldier, and Shawn plays an angel that he dances with, right into the light at the end. Beautiful, poignant, well danced.

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough/ABC
But hold onto your caps. They also danced a samba. Now, this show has seen its share of sambas, I just showed two of them which were also on this episode. And they are usually like that. Carmen Miranda bananas in hair, colorful, etc.

This samba (with the addition of Mark Ballas, DWTS' other brilliant choreographer) wasn't like that at all. In fact, at the end of it, the choreographers and stodgy Len argued a bit about whether or not pushing boundaries is a good thing. (I say YES!!!) Cause look at this jungle-themed samba.

Mark Ballas and Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough make history with this samba./ABC
It was primal, it was jungle, it was phenomenally brilliant in its choreography and conception. And the judges may not like it (per ballroom rules), but I thought it was stunning. Unbelievable.

Every single show, I am grateful for Derek's genius choreography. When you can add a bit of Mark Ballas influence back into it, you have something really really special.

There is no doubt in my mind, this is the team that deserves to win this competition.

Look at this dance!

Derek Hough and Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas take the dance world by storm./ABC
I have the video versions of all my favorite dances available on my Pinterest board (as well as my favorite dance of each week).

I also thank ABC and Adam Taylor for their use of the graphics on this page and that one.


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